Even though every council member and the mayor said Madison will not just support, but welcome Syrian refugees Tuesday night, that statement is not legally binding.
The resolution is meant to send a message that is in line with the city’s long history of accepting refugees. The resolution comes a couple weeks after Gov. Scott Walker said any new Syrian refugees would not be welcome in Wisconsin.
“I don’t think there could be a legal battle because the governor can’t stop what the federal government does in terms of placement of immigrants,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said.
“I think it’s just to send a message about who we are as a Madison,” Alderwoman Shiva Bidar-Sielaff said. “Regardless of the redirect from anybody else, I think it’s just a statement about us and Madison and what we stand for.”
Walker’s spokesperson did not specifically answer a question about the council’s action tonight. Instead, she emphasized previous statements urging the president to suspend and review the Syrian relocation program.
“Governor Walker’s first priority continues to be protecting our citizens. Given our deep concerns regarding the federal refugee resettlement program’s security procedures for Syrian refugees, we cannot authorize the cooperation of our state in any efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in Wisconsin, and we have asked for President Obama to immediately suspend the program and conduct a thorough review of its security and acceptance procedures,” the spokesperson said in a statement.